Newcastle have been linked heavily with Hull City center-back Harry Maguire in the recent past and if the reports are to be believed Newcastle are in the driving seat to sign him once we are promoted back to the Premier League.
We were also interested in signing 19 year-old Partizan Belgrade center-back Nikola Milenkovic, but he has just signed pre-contract forms with Fiorentina and he will be joining them in the summer.
Harry Maguire at £12M would be and excellent singing for us if indeed he is Rafa’s first choice for a center-back to bring in this summer.
Michael Keane – 23 year-old Burnley center-back
Another center-back who Newcastle have been interested in signing in the past could also be a Rafa target and he is Burnley’s former Manchester United center-back Michael Keane, who has been having an excellent season in the Premier League this season.
Michael was born in Stockport and signed professional forms at Manchester United on his 18th birthday in January 2011 and he made his Red Devils debut in the League Cup in October of that year.
But appearances in the Manchester United first team were few and far between and he spent loan spells at Leicester City, Derby County, Blackburn Rovers and Burnley to get first team experience.
Michael eventually signed on at Burnley in January of 2015 on a three and a half year contract.
Keane is qualified to play for the Republic of Ireland because of his Irish ancestry and played for their U17 and U19 teams before playing for the England U19 and U21 sides; he played 16 times with 3 goals for the England U21 side.
Michael is an accomplished and skillful center-back at 6ft 2ins tall and he’s been getting excellent reviews for his play this season in the Premier League.
There are already a number of top clubs interested in him so Rafa would have competition if he decided he was the top center-back target he wants to sign this summer.
It seems almost certain that Chancel Mbemba will leave Newcastle in the summer and Rafa will bring in a top center-back to replace the 28 times capped DR Congo International and Michael Keane certainly seems to fit the bill.
He has played 102 times for Burnley with 5 goals and has played over 50 games in the Premier League and could improve big time under Rafa Benitez’s coaching.
What do you think?